Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Brookdale (also known as the Renwick House) is a 2.5-storey wood-framed shingle-sided residence, built at some time between 1904 and 1911 in the classic Foursquare style and relocated to 3430 Benvoulin Road in Kelowna's Benvoulin neighbourhood in 1912.
Brookdale is valued for its association with the tobacco-growing and dairy industries, for its Foursquare style architecture, which embodies the confidence of the development boom in the era before the First World War, and because it marks the site and preserves a few timbers of the earlier Lequime family pioneer store.
This large and attractive house was built by Martin Renwick in the Foursquare style on a site along KLO Road. The date of construction has been reported as 1904, but it was probably somewhat later, since another source says that the Renwick family came from Manitoba in 1906. The house features include shingle siding, a hipped roof, deep eaves, double-hung one-over-one windows, and a projecting front porch with gabled roof. The house is said to have had the first flush toilet in Kelowna. Renwick sold the house and moved into Kelowna in 1912, building a large house at 987 Glenn Avenue (now Lawrence Avenue).
In 1912, the house became caught up in the tobacco bubble created by the British North American Tobacco Company (BNATCO), which drew many local farmers into a whirlwind of production with its promise of a huge and lucrative tobacco industry. As well as building a large cigar factory at 1250-1298 Ellis Street, the company leased and purchased farmland in the Benvoulin area and built considerable infrastructure, including a number of tobacco-curing barns, one of which is the surviving McEachern Tobacco Barn at 3139 Benvoulin Road.
BNATCO moved this house from its original location on KLO Road to its current location. The site had been the location of the Lequime family's general store, which operated from the 1860s until 1906, when it closed and the stock of goods was moved to the Lequime store in downtown Kelowna (229-233 Bernard Avenue). The old building burned in 1912, and BNATCO moved the Renwick house to the site. A source reported that 'beams from Lequime's buildings, showing evidence of fire scorching, were used as supports for the present home.' Major alterations were done to the house at the time.
After BNATCO went spectacularly bankrupt in 1914, as a result of bad business decisions and embezzlement by a company officer, the house and property were repurchased by Renwick in 1916. Two years later Renwick sold it to William Gifford Chamberlain. Chamberlain had come from England to settle in Dauphin, Manitoba, in 1885, and then, following a familiar pattern, he moved to the Kelowna area in 1918 and bought this property. He actively pursued tobacco-growing during its revival in the 1920s and was considered one of the expert tobacco-growers in the district. He became president of the BC Tobacco Growers Association in the late 1920s. After tobacco-growing again ceased during the Great Depression, the tobacco barns on the property were converted to dairy barns. The house was sold by Chamberlain's son Fred in 1952, and has had several owners since. It was reportedly at one point a girls' school. By 1983 it had been named 'Brookdale'.
Source: City of Kelowna, Planning Department, File No. 6800-02
The character-defining elements of Brookdale include its:
- Foursquare style, characterized by nearly square plan, medium-pitched hipped roof, deep eaves and three bays on the elevation.
- Gabled dormer window
- Second floor projects slightly, with wall flairing at the division between floors
- Projecting front porch with gabled roof
- Wood windows, double-hung one-over-one sash
- Shingled walls
- Well-landscape large property
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
1912/01/01 to 1912/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Extraction and Production
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Kelowna, Planning Department, File No. 6800-02
Cross-Reference to Collection